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11-20-2014, 10:44 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Upcoming trip to London - Pentax kit and subject matter recommendations

I will have an opportunity to travel to London in December for work and there is a very strong chance I will have a weekend there to myself. This will be my fourth trip to London. Two were vacation trips with my wife. The third was for work with no downtime. I have good memories of the city and I enjoyed my time there during every visit.

Even though the trip is 2+ weeks away I am already planning my camera kit. Gotta keep your priorities in order, right? Here is what I am planning to take for my weekend downtime.

Pentax K-30 + DA 18-135mm zoom for general shooting
Pentax Q + 01 prime for discrete indoor shooting
Undecided film body + undecided lens loaded with reversal film for special shots

My film body decision will be driven by the lens. I am thinking of taking one of the following and matching the body to the functionality of the lens.

FA 28-105mm f/3.2
FA 50mm f/1.4
FA 43mm f/1.9 Ltd
Super Lentar 35mm f/2.8 or Mir 1B 35mm f/2.8 [Both M42 mount lenses]
Super Lentar 28mm f/2.8 [M42 mount lens]

If I take one of the AF lens then I'll take my ZX-60 or SF1n. If I take one of the M42 lenses I will take my Spotmatic SP500.

Is this overkill? Am I overthinking this a little bit? Any thoughts on being practical?

I would also like to ask for recommendations on good photogenic locations. If possible I'd like to visit a camera shop and pick up some film that is not readily available in the US.

11-21-2014, 12:04 AM   #2
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For film, you have got to take the 50mm, imo.
For Camden market and the Knotting Hill market you will capture the most beautiful faces & still life shots
& if you have the time...venture out to Bath. It is a lovely day trip with incredible historical significance~
I know you will have the best time & I wish I was going with you!
11-21-2014, 12:11 AM   #3
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For film, go to a shop called Silverprint (silverprint.co.UK )
11-21-2014, 02:32 AM   #4
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I don't know a Q, but I would think that I'd use the larger possible sensor for indoor shooting... unless being discrete (i.e. where you can't officially take pictures ) is a priority.

I'd go with the 50 f/1.4 or 43 f/1.9.
If there's one thing I've learned is that at night no aperture is too wide... I've got great results photographing whole nights at f/2.
It's better to have a little softness due to less-than-optimal focus than a blurry mess due to high ISO and ISO NR...
That way you can also avoid shooting wide open. A kit lens like the 18-135mm doesn't even go in that neighborhood...

11-21-2014, 02:52 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I would definilty take the FA 50mm f/1.4 or FA 43mm f/1.9 Ltd for use on digital or film. It's winter here and daylight can be low because of clouds and weather. You might want to consider that when deciding film choices too. Kew Gardens is a good location for flowers and plants.They have many green houses with tropical plants, exotic butterflies too as I remember. Their gounds will be full of trees shedding leaves so some good autumn shots should be possible as well.
http://www.kew.org/
It's a pity you weren't here a few weeks ago, the Tower of London was surrounded by about 900,000 red ceramic poppies. There are less camera shops than there used to be but if you Google for some near your hotel you should be ok.
If you want to photograph people then the side streets of Oxford Street in Central London (eg Wardour St) might be be useful. Your wife will appreciate the shopping facilities near by!
The river Thames flows through London and can be a good source of images. If you go on a 'Duck' tour you can take pictures from the river, see link
London Experiences, Tourist Attractions, Guided Tours, London City Sightseeing - Official London Duck Tours
There are also double decker bus tours around the city and the open top deck might be good for pictures too. You can hop on and off these to take more shots.
http://eng.bigbustours.com/london/home.html?

Enjoy your trip!

Last edited by RussV; 11-21-2014 at 03:16 AM.
11-21-2014, 02:54 AM - 1 Like   #6
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There's a new spiral staircase at somerset house called the miles staircase. If you Google it theres a few images online. On film and with the right lens it would make an an amazing subject.

There's also landscape photographer of the year exhibition starting early DEC at waterloo station. The winning shot was by an ex Pentax shooter.
11-21-2014, 04:51 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
Is this overkill? Am I overthinking this a little bit? Any thoughts on being practical?
Overkill... Overthinking...? Yes!

Be practical...? Sometimes KW makes a good point, so check out...

Simplicity

My recommendation... Q+01 (or better Q7+08/06/01, lenses used in that order), plus three batteries with charger and a 32mb card.

Forget the rest and enjoy your trip.... M

Last edited by Michaelina2; 11-21-2014 at 05:00 AM.
11-21-2014, 05:01 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
Overkill... Overthinking...? Yes!

Be practical...? Sometimes KW makes a good point, so check out...

Simplicity

My recommendation... Q/01 (or better Q7/08/06/01, used in that order), plus three batteries with charger and a 32mb card.

Forget the rest and enjoy your trip.... M

Or, you could do the AA way...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=M-BhJQqHXfQ#t=240
"item, one 8 by 10 view camera, 20 holders, 4 lenses..."

11-21-2014, 07:00 AM   #9
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I would not really bother with the film camera myself ( more weight ) unless you're planning to use some really special film. Both the 43mm limited and the 35mm MIR sounds very good to me.

I'd also like to recommend a "small" walk in London, especially for not insanely crowded, but still interesting areas: https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Bermondsey+@51.497950,-0.063740&daddr=51....classic&dg=brw
11-21-2014, 07:53 AM   #10
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The Spitalfields area of East London on a Sunday morning is fab and with a great deal of interesting history. It goes back many centuries and was where immigrant communities first settled, first the Hugenots who built the elegant houses for their silk-weaving, then Jewish settlers from Eastern Europe, now folks from the Horn of Africa and Bangladesh. Huge street markets in Petticoat Lane and Brick Lane, loads of ethnic food, many old houses and streets. Also a flower market in nearly Columbia Road. While you can visit any time of course, Sunday morning is the day for the action in Brick Lane and Petticoat Lane so far as I can tell. The flower market in Columbia Road opens very early and closes early too. The activity is all in the morning. The area is also plastered with Banksy-style street art on walls and buildings (though not by Banksy himself these days, I guess, as his work has become far too valuable).

A walk along the South Bank from London Bridge to Waterloo, starting at Borough market (photogenic and quite tasty at weekends) by Southwark Cathedral, taking in the vast Tate Modern gallery, the Globe Theatre, the South Bank complex and Royal Festival Hall, etc. Great views across the Thames if there is a nice sunset or late afternoon light. Plenty of places to stop for coffee and a break, etc. Halfway along there is a modern pedestrian bridge over the river taking you direct to St Paul's Cathedral. A good spot for a cityscape pic or two.

London's Parks, particularly (imho) Regent's Park.

The City financial district for some skyscrapers and modern architecture, plus the Tower of London and some historic old buildings. Some skyscrapers have top-floor bars or eateries with amazing views. Trip Advisor or a similar site might have some details.

Some good eighteenth century squares and housing in the area around the British Museum in Bloomsbury.

Soho and Chinatown for a walk through an old quarter (now much cleaned up of the red light riff-raff that used to flourish there many years ago). It's now full of younger folks hanging out, cafes and so forth. Nearby there is Covent Garden with a few interesting streets but imho a bit of an overcrowded shopping hell these days.

Coffee in the Photographer's Gallery just behind Oxford Street Tube Station. Ground floor cafe, nice photography bookshop downstairs and usually an interesting exhibition or two upstairs.

Many smaller, interesting museums and galleries like the Wallace Collection or the Sir John Soane Museum - in addition to the larger and well-known ones. Some say the Soane museo is one of London's hidden gems.

I use lenses of 15-40mm typically, sometimes a 70mm. All DA primes in my case. Wide-ish angles are definitely on the menu with architecture, views across rivers and parks and so forth.

Yes, Notting Hill is another area to put on the menu I guess. Kew Gardens is a superb place for botanical things but it is quite a way from the centre of London and so with getting a train there it would take up at least half a day, probably most of a day.

If you have time for a day out then Brighton or Oxford (where I live) are easy to get to and full of life.

Ps: Someone has just told me that taking a riverboat from central London to the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich is a good and easy trip.

Hope you have a great trip.

Last edited by mecrox; 11-21-2014 at 03:44 PM.
11-21-2014, 09:46 AM   #11
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It has been about 15 years since, but for a decade I went to London every January. It was 35mm film [mostly 160 ASA tungsten slide] and I usually took a 35mm and a 50-55mm macro. I love museums and art galleries--the Tate, British Museum, Museum of (City of?) London, V&A, some of the galleries (WhiteChapel [sic.?] as I recall near Museum of London), street shooting in area around Covent Garden, maybe a day trip by bus or train to nearby town--stay the day/have dinner and then a late train/bus back.

Mecrox mentions Spitalfields area of East London, which is (I believe) where the gallery I mentioned is, ditto Museum of London/or near by, and as he/she says a great area to walk around.

Also London (weather) tends to be relatively low contrast---so the need for negative film is likely less. (If it was me/my shooting style) I would take the Q and toy wide, and a digital and 2 lenses: as said above one lens would be macro--but if not a single lens w/ FF equivalent of 28-70mm could be convenient.

Last edited by dms; 11-21-2014 at 10:03 AM.
11-22-2014, 11:46 AM   #12
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Wow, lots of great info here! Thanks to everyone for their replies and recommendations! I need to make a list and start mapping out the parks, museums, cafe, etc to see how far everything is from my hotel and what I fit into my schedule. The cafe in the Photographer's Gallery sounds really neat. It addresses two basic needs of mine: food and photography!

The fact that I only listed three cameras and one lens per camera is already a reduction from what I used to take. Now I am thinking of another reduction.

Good Weather
Q with the 02 lens or my K-30 with the FA 28-105mm
Film body and share the FA 28-105mm

Foul Weather
K-30 with the DA 18-135mm and leave everything else behind

Assuming good weather, the idea of a macro lens sounds interesting too. It's not so much about taking actual macro shots but the close focus capability may be nice. Gotta think about that. My macro lens is the D FA 50mm f/2.8 that I use for my film scanning. It would end up being a mild telephoto on the K-30 but a "normal" on film. Now I wonder if taking my Promaster 19-35mm would make for an interesting combination on film. I could share that lens between the K-30 and the film body. I'm resisting the urge to slip my DA 40mm XS pancake into my pocket!

If London is low contrast and slightly overcast area around December then that confirms the use of reversal film. Now I wonder which speed. I have two rolls of Rollei Digibase CR200 36 exp. each. Should I order one or two rolls of Fujichrome 400?

Thinking about the Q more makes me want to ask Mrs. Santa Claus for an 06 or 08 lens for Christmas. Gotta see which list my name ended up on.
11-22-2014, 03:20 PM   #13
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I suggest you check the weather forecast for London just before you leave, it will then be clear if you need your 'Good' or 'Foul' weather kit. We do get sunny days in December but things can change fast.
11-22-2014, 04:42 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
*snip*

Good Weather
Q with the 02 lens or my K-30 with the FA 28-105mm
Film body and share the FA 28-105mm

Foul Weather
K-30 with the DA 18-135mm and leave everything else behind
*snip*
I like this one best, but bring a wide-aperture (f/2 or larger) prime...
12-07-2014, 03:00 PM   #15
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I'm in London now. I took the Q with the 02 zoom lens and my PZ-20 with the FA 43mm f/1.9. The PZ-20 has Rollei CN200 reversal film loaded in it. As I was about to zip up my bags I buckled in a moment of gear lust and took the Q's 01 and 03 lenses with me. Even with this last minute gear grab this is still the least amount of gear I have ever taken with me on a major trip.

So far I have shot with everything except the 03 lens. I'm sure I'll wiggle it onto my Q somehow before I come home! The majority of my shots have been with Q and the 02 lens.

I really want a DA 18-135mm type lens for the Q. It's like a semi-superzoom. Maybe a Q focal length of 3mm to 12mm at starting at f/2.2 to manage size and cost.
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